Book of the Week 30: Amos

Hebrew Name: Amos

Human Author: Amos                                                         

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 9

Basic Facts

  1. Amos is the thirtieth book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, Amos is classified as a book of prophecy.
  3. The Hebrew name for the book of Amos is Amos (ah-mose), which means “burden bearer.”
  4. Amos was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel.
  5. The ministry of Amos took place during the reign of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam II king of Israel.

Story of the Book

Amos begins with God’s pronouncement of judgment for sin against Israel, Judah, and several neighboring cities and small nations including Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. Then God turns His focus directly upon the nation of Israel and pronounces that He will judge the people of Israel for their sins. God calls the northern kingdom of Israel to repent with lamentation or face judgment. Next, God elaborates on His reasons for judging Israel. God is punishing the people of Israel for refusing to repent of their sins and failing to care for the poor and needy. Amos’ ministry focuses on a call for social justice on behalf of the poor and oppressed in Israel. The book continues with several visions of coming judgment upon Israel, using a plumb line and a basket of ripe fruit as symbols of judgment. The book concludes with a brief description of Israel’s coming destruction, followed by God’s ultimate promise of restoration for the nation. This promise of restoration includes a promise to restore the “fallen booth of David” (Amos 9:11-12) as a vague reference to the restoration of the Davidic kingship of Israel.

Jesus Foreshadowed in Amos

Jesus is very subtly foreshadowed in Amos. When God reveals to Amos that He will ultimately give restoration to the nation of Israel after its destruction, God says, “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in days of old” (Amos 9:11). The word translated as booth in Amos 9:11 could also be translated as Tabernacle. There is an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament (called the Septuagint) that uses the Greek term skenoo for Tabernacle in Amos 9:11. However, the physical Tabernacle of God was never restored in a literal sense at any point in Israel’s history after the time of David. Therefore, the fulfillment of this verse cannot be found in the rebuilding of the physical Tabernacle. However, in John 1:14 the Gospel writer says, “The Word [that is, Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The word translated as dwelt in John 1:14 is also skenoo. Thus, the fulfillment of Amos 9:11 is not to be found in the physical tent/Tabernacle erected in the book of Exodus, but rather in the Tabernacle of God dwelling in human form in the person of Jesus. Jesus is revealed as the dwelling of God among men, and Jesus is the one who restores the presence of God in the mist of His people. In Jesus we find the redemption of the true Israel of God, those who live by faith in Jesus Christ.